BPTrends has just published a great thought-piece from Macedon Consulting, Inc. founder Austin Rosenfeld. Austin examines BPM Software in the context of the continuum of structured to unstructured processes that we see in real-world business. For example, manufacturing processes focus on high repeatability in order to produce millions of identical widgets. These processes are highly structured, with every step - including possible exceptions - mapped out in a BPMN process diagram. At the other end of the spectrum, Austin describes the process scenario for a hotel concierge. This tends to be a very loosely structured stream of independent requests across a relatively unconstrained domain of content, and requiring a high - but unpredictable - level of consultative knowledge work.
In the business world, he states, "most processes fall somewhere in between the concierge and the manufacturing examples." Processes can have several phases, each with varying levels of structure. These real-world process scenarios point to dynamic case management, where some steps are structured, but there are "few or no constraints on the order of those activities or whether each activity is mandatory in any given instance."
The take-away of Austin's piece is that "From a technical standpoint, the design of a BPM system has now gone beyond the flow that a BPMN diagram can express." He then gives a run-down of key functionality a modern BPM suite must contain to address ad-hoc case management instances within a standard workflow:
He uses the metaphor of "a Facebook-style 'all-objects-and-events-are-discussion-threads'" to encapsulate this approach. This is, of course, precisely what we have done with Appian's Social BPM.
-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications
Appian helps organizations build apps and workflows rapidly, with a low-code automation platform. Combining people, technologies, and data in a single workflow, Appian can help companies maximize their resources and improve business results. Many of the world’s largest organizations use Appian applications to improve customer experience, achieve operational excellence, and simplify global risk management and compliance.